The transformation of the Murray Basin rail freight network is on track to revitalise regional Victoria’s rail freight network.
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan visited Maryborough today and announced the completion of stage one works and the beginning of consultation for stage two.
The $40 million stage one works have delivered vital upgrades to the Mildura and Hopetoun rail line, installing more than 175,000 sleepers and replacing 3400 metres of rail.
Stage two of the project involves gauge conversion of the rail lines between Yelta and Maryborough and also between Ouyen and Murrayville. The works will include upgrading and re-opening the Maryborough to Ararat rail line which has been closed for more than a decade.
Stage two works also include increasing axle loading on these lines from 19 to 21 tonnes enabling the freight industry to deliver exports to Victoria’s ports in more efficient and cost-competitive way.
The reopening of this line will provide a rail connection for freight to the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s interstate line at Ararat, and open up rail connections to the Port of Portland.
A number of level crossings along the Maryborough to Ararat line will be closed as a critical safety measure. Each crossing will be individually assessed against safety criteria.
Consultation will commence in the coming weeks to ensure local councils, land owners and surrounding communities are informed about these works.
A project office will be established at the Maryborough railway station to enable local residents and businesses to conveniently access members of the project team.
Vegetation removal on the Maryborough to Ararat line will commence shortly, enabling the construction works to begin in July 2017.
From August 2017, the Maryborough to Yelta and Ouyen to Murrayville rail lines will be shut for five months to transform and standardise these corridors.
The Andrews Labor Government is working with the freight industry to minimise the impacts to industry as part of the projects line closures while these vital upgrade works are carried out.
The timing of stages 3 and 4 will be dependent on Commonwealth Government funding being confirmed.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan
“The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with transforming Victoria’s rail freight network.”
“We’re boosting capacity, safety and reliability of freight services in regional Victoria so we can meet the future growth of the region.”
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
"This is a milestone moment and will help primary producers across North Western Victoria get more produce to port, more efficiently – boosting jobs and the regional economy.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020